He is in the arms of another woman.  The old familiar pangs of jealousy tear at my heart and I don’t think I can take it much longer.  But I don’t want to make a scene.  Not here.  Not now.

They look so happy together.  Much happier than I have ever seen him.  There is pain in my heart now, as well as the jealousy.  Perhaps, I could have done things differently.  But no.  I have done my best.  Now is not the time for personal recriminations, nor is it the time for action.

I peer through the throng of couples dancing and think I see them again.  They seem closer somehow, more intimate.  My heart screams at them to stop, to remember me.  I watch dumbstruck as they twirl across the dance floor.  I can’t feel any more pain.  I feel so old.

As they draw closer to where I stand hidden behind the artificial ferns, I see for the first time what she really is.  A usurper.  She has come to take my place.  I don’t think she knows this, but she’s hurting me in the process.  She is young, fresh-faced and beautiful.  Her gleaming chestnut hair falls in long, graceful waves down her slender straight back.  I, on the other hand, am older.  Much older.  My face lost its youthful glow many years ago and my former beauty is a memory.  My hair, once my crowning glory, is no longer the darkly shining halo of not so long ago, though still long.    Grey streaks pollute the once purely youthful colour.  If I had been a man, the grey would mark me as “distinguished”.  As a woman, I am merely old. My back, however, can neither be described as slender nor straight.

No Strings Attached - Excerpt

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© 2015 by Phoebe Wilby.